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Discussion Starter #1
I know my ampera cannot use the 3 phase ecotricity stations, but can cars like the Leaf with an onboard 3.3kw charger use the 3 Phase Ecotricity stations ? How does the car know to only pull effectively a single phase current ?
I noticed that the type 2 plug is the same whether it is a single phase charger or a 3 phase charger, so I presume that cars with a lower powered on board charge controller just draw power down 1 of the live wires, rather than spreading it over all of them……
I like to try and at least have a moderate understanding of how all of these things interact, so am just trying to get my head around it :)
 

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The Leaf can use the 22kW 3-phase charging stations but not the rapid chargers.

I am no expert on this but I would imagine that the charge controller in the charging station determines that it is a 3.3kW or 6kW single-phase charger in the car and so only switches on one phase.
 

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Lee your right the type 2 socket is the same whether it's single or 3 phase charging. The 7 pins on a type 2 connection relate to 3 lives 1 neutral 1 earth and 2 for comms. Type one connection with 5 pins are the same apart from only 1 live. On single phase units only one live is connected on the rear of a type 2 socket if it's changed to 3 phase then you can add the other 2 phases later. Like Paul I'm not an expert on the vehicle side of the draw down but if you used a type 2 to type 1 cable the car will only see one live - remember only 5 pins, this is why most street chargers come with type 2 sockets as you can take 7 pin to 5 pin by leaving 2 cables out for the un used phases but you can't do the opposite - unless your dynamo or Paul Daniels.
 
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One subtlety to be aware of @Lee Dalton... the Type 2 connector on the end of the AC rapid charger cable is physically incompatible with the Type 2 connector on Charging Stations. Therefore, you cannot use your Type 2 to Type 1 cable at a location that has just a AC rapid charger.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys, I think that's made it a bit clearer in my head.
@kevin so the 40+ kW connector is physically different from the type 2 used up to 22kw ?
I get the difference between the tethered chargers like the ecotricity units and the socketed units like my local charging posts, just hadn't thought about a physical difference in the plugs.
 

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@kevin so the 40+ kW connector is physically different from the type 2 used up to 22kw ?
Correct, they are physical different. At the end of the 43kW AC rapid charger cable is a Type 2 'car' connector, while on the 22kW Charging Station is a Type 2 'EVSE' connector.

In reality what this means is that if you're driving an EV with a Type 2 connector in the car (BMW i3, ZOE, Tesla Model S) then you can use any charging station. However, if you're driving a car with a Type 1 connector in the car (Leaf, i-MIEV, Kangoo) you cannot use AC rapid chargers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I kind of get why they might have two styles of charger, but it does make the whole system a little disfunctional.
Plus, hypothetically overnight the chances of a fast charger being used is pretty low, so they could/should have an option for slower charging cars to take advantage of it.
For example, a few weeks back I stopped on the M74, I think it was Hamilton. There was nobody using the ecotricity charger when I arrived at 22:00 and still nobody using it at 07:00 when I left. Had I been in a leaf or ampera, topping up at 3.3kw or even 6.6kw whilst I slept wouldn't have caused a problem, except it's physically impossible to connect it.
To my mind, it needs standardising both in terms of plugs and cables, but also charging capacity, so that the general public don't have to remember so many different quirks. After all it's basically he equivilant of a fuel pump, and they are pretty simple these days !
 

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@Lee Dalton yeh, it's one of the problems with standards developed by committees... in the early days we had one Type 2 connector that was used everywhere and you could plug anything into anything :) Unfortunately that was superseded by the 'car' and 'EVSE' connector concept in later versions of the standard.

That said though the car companies are also at fault... Nissan stuck with the Type 1 connector when they could easily have changed to Type 2 during the 2013 model refresh... that would have given us one European car connector going forward :D

Personally I think the solution is to have both rapid and fast chargers at every en route charging location. Not only does it offer redundancy (required today with almost 50% rapid chargers offline last week) but it also encourages cars with slower charging to leave the rapids free for those people who need them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@kevin, that sounds like a nice simple system that anyone could use and understand. That will never take off, as it would strip out all the bureaucracy :)
 
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